Skokie Park District Green Initiatives

Current green initiatives implemented at the Skokie Park District:

Staff Environmental Action Team

Formed more than 25 years ago, this park district staff team meets regularly and has initiated many of the energy saving and recycling projects below, in facilities and in parks.

Click here for the Skokie Park District environmental policy.


  • LED Lighting conversions have been completed at: all 10 of the Skokie Park District’s parking lots; all interior and exterior fixtures at Skokie Water Playground and Devonshire Aquatic Center; Laramie Park sports courts; the Terminal Park softball/baseball field; all exterior fixtures at Skokie Sports Park including mini golf, the batting cages and the driving range hitting structure, with the exception of the driving range lighting (these fixtures are scheduled for late 2021); the sports lighting for the eight tennis courts at the Skokie Park Tennis Center. The softball/baseball field lighting at Laramie Park is planned for 2021
  • District-wide there 5 acres of native/pollinator friendly planting areas, not including the 13 acres at Emily Oaks Nature Center. In 2020 the District received a grant for $20,000 from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation to convert 2 acres of turf(1 acre at Hamlin Park and 1 acre at Skokie Sports Park) to pollinator friendly plants.
  • During the fall leaves are mulched using special kits attached to the mower decks(no disposal)
  • In 2020 the district developed an Integrated Pest Management Plan.

District Facilities

  • LED lighting conversions have taken place atTot Learning Center, the Dammrich Rowing Center, the Park Services Center, Skokie Sports Park, more than 85% of the Weber Leisure Center including occupancy sensors for dimming the gymnasium and indoor track, and most of the Emily Oaks Nature Center.
  • Solar panels have been installed at the Emily Oaks Nature Center. A grant was received for the panels from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation for $23,955.
  • Solar panels are in the process of being installed at both the Weber Leisure Center and the Park Services facility.
  • Sun tubes installed in interior office space are saving power
  • Mixed use recycling containers are being expanded to all facility entrances and high-use parks throughout the district.
  • Printer and toner cartridge recycling/reuse
  • Staff ‘Reduce-the-Use’ Facility Energy Contest
  • Use of greener (alternative) cleaners
  • Low flow showers, high-efficiency hand dryers and automated paper dispensers
  • Junk mail reduction
  • Double-sided copying and paper reuse
  • Copy paper purchasing (recycled content)
  • Fluorescent light bulb recycling (Fluorocycle)
  • Golf ball reuse at Skokie Sports Park
  • Cardboard recycling
  • Summer camp recycling contests and Recycling Ranger program
  • Motion sensor lights
  • Camp recyclables pick-up

Special Events Recycling

Recycling at large community special events such as the Skokie Festival of Cultures, July 4th 3-D Fireworks Festival and Skokie’s Backlot Bash. In 2019, Collective Resource, Inc. successfully separated two-thirds of a ton of food waste at the Backlot Bash, which went off for compost (diverting it from a landfill). 

Districtwide Marketing

  • Reduction in marketing materials: posters, fliers
  • Skatium publication now direct-marketed to age range households only
  • Newsletters sent via email

Park Services

  • Propane powered mowing equipment now burns cleaner and has reduced gasoline usage.
  • Any materials that can be recycled during playground renovations or construction projects are. This includes: Sand play surfacing has been donated to local water departments for use in repairing water line breaks.Concrete footings from play equipment and amenity replacements are brought to concrete plants where they are ground up and reused. Bricks from the various paver areas that are being replaced are ground up and reused.
  • A vehicle and equipment "no idle" policy has lowered fuel consumption by 10-15 percent.
  • Skokie Park District "Green Fleet" biodiesel use
  • Salt procedures have been established to make use of brine for pre-treatment and calibrate/reduce the amount of salt used during snow events. This in turn reduces the amount of chlorides getting into waterways.
  • Metal recycling
  • Oil filter crusher and recycling

Skokie’s Spring Greening

The park district and its community agency partners present Skokie's annual super recycling of household items. Skokie's Spring Greening website.

Earth Day Celebration

Emily Oaks Nature Center annually celebrates the earth by commemorating Earth Day. Visitors commune with nature through themed games, activities, music, food and a native plant sale.